Saturday, December 3, 2011

With new designs come new headaches.

I have almost completed my final rebalancing/modifications of the Scrin forces and I am at the moment pretty happy with how things are coming along.

But of course there are always bugs. For example my latest changes to the powers and their requirements now cause the game to crash when I build the stasis chamber. This of course means that I need to go back through each power removing them all and then putting them back in one at a time to figure out which power is making the game go "blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa".

And of course Electronic Arts and Microsoft do nothing to help. The generic "the program has encountered and has to close" message tells me nothing. The only good thing is I know it was working before messing with the powers so I at least have a place to start at.

Another issue that I had to change were the PAC's Dimensional Cannon Orbs that attacked the ground and air by causing a pillar of light to cover both areas when they died. This attack worked great when it was only dealing with the air, but for some reason the moment I told it to also hit ground targets the game would work for a bit then crash. Oh well.... I do have another design for the unit that I can go with. Now the unit only attacks air units with these orbs but uses a Zeus cannon to attack ground targets. You remember the Zeus Cannon right? It's the weapon that the original Devastator Warship used to use to attack ground targets. While it's not the exact same as what I originally hoped for it does do the same job admirably.

Which brings me to todays post. One of the more common problems that I personally have when I work on this mod comes down to trying to get what I want from my head into the game. Sometimes it's a modeling issue, but more often than not it's an issue of "I got it in but it doesn't work the way I wanted." So my process to this has changed over the last few years from just doing it and seeing what happens to writing everything down in a notebook (I have like 5 of the things lying around each based on a different faction or design), coming up with an alternative to the more 'complicated ones' in case the original idea doesn't work (also known as plan B), and then taking baby steps to get it working in game. This results in my compiling the mod about 15 to 20 times an hour while working on it just testing every little bit one piece at a time. This allows me to find where the issues are or will be so that if something pops up and causes an error I'm not stuck looking at 12 different changes and going "great... which one of you is giving me a headache now?".

And so the mod moves forward. The PAC now fires long range artillery at ground targets and swarms air targets with D-Bombs that home in on their target. The Devastator Warship is now equipped with a D-Cannon and Assault Lances that can be converted into Prism Lances. And the Stormrider is pretty much unchanged, still a powerful early to mid game quick assault unit equipped with plasma weapons.

So the moral of the story is always have a plan B, always make changes in small steps, and always make backups so that if there is an issue your not left holding a pile of crap that you can't work with. Now if you excuse me, I've got some power codes to go back and look at.


Alan said...

Hope you can get it working. Unicorn is not going to be in this mod right?

Azuza K said...

Correct, Unicorn is not going to be in this mod.

Anonymous said...

We can leave Unicorn for someone who can do that for their own mod version.